UK’s Cyber Amateurs Battle Shadowy Hackers

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Some of the UK’s top cyber amateurs battled each other in exercises over the weekend for the right to reach the Masterclass final of the Cyber Security Challenge UK in November.

Candidates played the part of government contractors investigating a cyber-attack on a secure payment app and website, monitored closely by BAE Systems, Her Majesty’s Government Communications Centre (HMGCC) and a range of unnamed “top cybersecurity organizations.”

The best performing will be invited to technical interviews with the host organizations, increasing their chances of landing a plum role.

They will also go on to the Masterclass final of the Cyber Security Challenge later in the year, where 42 candidates from across the competition converge on the headquarters of PricewaterhouseCoopers in a test co-staged by the Bank of England, the National Crime Agency and GCHQ.

HMGCC said in a statement that such competitions are a great way for it to find people with the capabilities needed to support its role in designing and delivering “communication systems and technical solutions to protect national security at home and overseas.”

The weekend exercise tested both technical capabilities and candidates’ soft skills.

After being given advice from HMGCC and BAE Systems, they were encouraged to investigate the targeted server, detect compromises on smartphones, search source files and finally report their findings to the ‘Board.’

These competitions throw candidates in the deep end and allow them to immerse themselves in the world of cybersecurity, allowing them to demonstrate their skills to potential employers and take the first steps towards becoming cybersecurity experts,” said Cyber Security Challenge UK CEO, Stephanie Daman.

“Cyber threats continue to plague many industries, and with a widening skills gap affecting businesses ability to hire staff, events like these provide the perfect opportunity for new talent to emerge and for businesses to see them in action.”

Cybersecurity skills shortages appear to be showing no signs of slowing down, although there were signs of encouragement recently with the news that GCSE and A-Level Computing numbers have grown over the past year.

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